Facebook recently announced sweeping changes to its famous algorithm that controls what users see in their newsfeeds. The goal is to put more emphasis on a user’s interaction with friends and less on posts from the public pages that a majority of our locals have.

This means the reach for pages is less. In the future, a post from your page will initially reach 1 percent of its total audience. If engagement (Likes, Comments and Shares) is good, the algorithm will then push it out to the rest of your followers to see. If that initial 1 percent doesn’t respond to your post, it will not reach any additional followers.

In addition, less of a priority is given to video. And you won’t see so many links to news stories, either.

This change will undoubtedly impact your local’s ability to reach your community via social media. However, fret not. Understanding the changes Facebook has made to its platform and why will go a long way towards having a greater voice in your community.

Steps you can take to ensure your Facebook page reach remains strong.

1) Reduce the number of times you post each day. Focus on quality, not quantity. Ideally, post no more than three posts and spread them throughout the day.

2) As always, make sure you’re posting quality content. The Toolkits (www.iaff.org/toolkits) section of the IAFF website contains specialized content to help you deliver quality material to your followers.

3) Keep in mind that comments will have more value than likes. Facebook will prioritize posts that generate conversations and interactions on posts, so your posts will need reactions to reach more people.

4) When posting a news article involving, featuring or affecting your members, local or department, add a comment that puts it in context, but don’t repeat the headline. Ask your fans for their opinion on the matter. You’ll get it.

5) Although video will not have the priority moving forward that it has had, you can enhance it by going live. Videos that are 30-60 seconds that tell a story about your local, your members or the community can spark conversation. On average, live videos on Facebook spark more conversation than other videos.

6) Don’t forget to tag people in pictures and videos to notify them about the post at hand. Tagging other networks in your community can introduce your local to new audiences.

7) Use Facebook ads. Facebook is pay to play more than ever. If you are spending money, the algorithm will not affect you. If you have a quality post, boost it. Also, take time to learn Facebook’s Ads Manager so you can target people in your jurisdiction, building power and authority for your local and your brand.

8) Most of all, it is important for your membership to visit the local’s page daily and support the page by commenting, liking and sharing. Membership participation can play a big part in whether your voice is heard on your issue.

If you’re going to the Affiliate Leadership Training Summit-Human Relations Conference, be sure to attend one of the social media training classes. For more information, contact [email protected].